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Βράδυ, νύχτα και καληνύχτα/καληνυχτίζω

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by Ntwson, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Ntwson

    Ntwson Junior Member

    Γεια σας! I have some questions about the greeting "Goodnight!" in Greek. During my studies, I thought about "καλό βράδυ!" but it sounds 'Greeklish' to myself. On the other hand, I discovered a definition of "καληνύχτα" (χαιρετισμός που απευθύνεται το βράδυ, λίγο πριν τον ύπνο) and of "βράδυ" (1: το μέρος του εικοσιτετραώρου που αρχίζει μετά τη δύση του ήλιου, διαρκεί μερικές ώρες και το διαδέχεται η νύχτα, 2:η νύχτα) on the also-free Wiktionary (Βικιλεξικό) website. So, if "καληνύχτα" is just before bedtime, the point is: (1) How do I have to greet somebody at 6:00 PM [if it is 'good evening,' please let me know and also consider one hour later, id est, at 7:00 PM in order to become it as "night"] and at 10:00 PM in the streets of Athens? (2) At 6:00/7:00 PM, is that "night" a βράδυ or a νύχτα? (3) If saying "καληνύχτα" is the verb "καληνυχτίζω," is there a verb for a "Goodnight!" with no relation to bedtime? I thank you so much and I am really sorry anyway since I believe both my questions and my subjects may sound a little boring. I have tried to learn Greek with all my heart and soul as my second language and it is too hard for a trying-to-be-a-self-taught person in the non-result oriented side of South America. I do really thank you! Ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ!
  2. Nikolaos_Kandidatos

    Nikolaos_Kandidatos Senior Member

    Rethymno, Crete
    Hi! I'm not a native speaker but I will briefly present the picture as I see it after some years of living in Crete. Firstly, for greeting a person I meet after midday/μεσημέρι, regardless of the amount of sunlight, I use καλησπέρα, which is the normal equivalent of "good evening" (and corresponds to it etymologically - from ancient Greek καλὴν ἑσπέραν, lit. good evening). There does exist the verb καλησπερίζω - I hope this answers your questions 1 and 3! This is the greeting used all the way until morning is close enough that καλημέρα becomes appropriate. Note that the exact hour is not of much relevance, nor, unless I am very much mistaken, does the exact amount of sunlight - what matters more in the division of the day are the two main periods of rest, midday/μεσημέρι and night, however these are perceived in the situation a speaker finds him/herself in. The greeting used between night and midday is καλημέρα and between midday and night, καλησπέρα.

    Now as to the other words you mention, note that these are not greetings used when meeting someone but rather when parting company. Here there are more divisions than in the "meeting greetings": during or immediately before the μεσημέρι period I would say καλό μεσημέρι, after that καλό απόγευμα (απόγευμα = from μεσημέρι till βράδυ, i.e. as I perceive it, roughly till sunset, but someone correct me if I'm wrong here). During βράδυ/νύχτα, when the sun has set and it can be assumed that one's interlocutor will at some point be going to sleep, I use either καληνύχτα or καλό βράδυ, both of which render the English "good night". So no, καλό βράδυ is perfectly good Greek and not Greeklish, but it is a parting greeting and not a meeting greeting like English "good evening". Note that here there seems to be no difference between καληνύχτα and καλό βράδυ, at least in my experience, and I use both indiscriminately (I'd never encountered καλό βράδυ before Crete and don't know if there is any regional variation involved), but of course βράδυ and νύχτα per se are different things. At this point I'd like a native speaker to explain how exactly he/she understands the difference between the two, although I doubt the situation is much clearer than in English (how dies one draw the line dividing evening from night?). If I was asked this question about my native tongue, Finnish, where the words ilta and yo correspond precisely to English evening and night, I probably wouldn't be able to give a clear answer. As far as I can say, there is a great deal of overlap between the two words - one attempt at a clarification might be that βράδυ/evening is the early part of νύχτα/night when people are usually still active, whereas the rest of νύχτα/night, no longer βράδυ/evening, is when most normal people can be assumed to be asleep. So I believe both 7.00 PM and 10.00 PM can be called βράδυ in Greek. However, to complicate things further, at least some people I hear consistently using βράδυ in the same meaning as νύχτα for the entire nocturnal period - for example, they might say "Εκείνη η αναθεματισμένη γάτα του γείτονα με ξύπνησε πάλι στις 3.00 το βράδυ!". This is hardly possible in English and certainly not in Finnish, but in Greek I do hear βράδυ used this way (and use it thus myself too).

    Hope this helps at least little!
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  3. Ntwson

    Ntwson Junior Member

    You answered question #2. It's okay. On the other hand, I am more confused than before (I am talking about the question #1). The point is: considering a party where we are all expected to be all night long (I mean, awake), can I greet "καληνύχτα" at the time I am introduced to somebody at 10:00 PM with no expectation to sleep? And since "καλό βράδυ!" is not 'Greeklish,' the point of question #3 is the same: since "καληνυχτίζω" is a verb (to greet somebody with a "καληνύχτα!"), what is the verb (in case there is one) to greet somebody with a "καλό βράδυ!"? Thank you so much!
  4. Nikolaos_Kandidatos

    Nikolaos_Kandidatos Senior Member

    Rethymno, Crete
    Hi Ntwson,

    admittedly my answer seems a little confusing. Sorry! What I meant to say is, you do not use καληνύχτα as a greeting when introduced to someone or generally when meeting someone. You use it when parting company, that is, when you or the other party leaves (hence I called it a "parting greeting" as opposed to a "meeting greeting"). If you are introduced to someone at a party, you say καλησπέρα. (It goes without saying that you can also use any number of greetings unrelated to time, like γεια σου and so on.) But when you or the other person leaves, with the assumption that you won't be seeing them again that night, you say καληνύχτα or καλό βράδυ. Is this more helpful?

    You're welcome!
  5. Andrious Senior Member

    The verb to tell somebody "καλό βράδυ!" would be "αποχαιρετώ", I guess. It fits also with "γεια χαρά!", "τα λέμε!", "αντίο!".
  6. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    I'm sorry to trucate your question, but it is a little polymorphous. A discussion on the subtle difference between the use of βράδυ and νύχτα alone would be a sufficient topic to explore. On the question of greeting around 6 to 7pm I would only use καλησπέρα, the others you mention are greetings upon parting from company.
  7. c0stakis New Member

    Yes, we would definitely use the word βράδυ for that cat thing, since it would still be dark outside, so βράδυ is used in most cases for the dark period of the day, even if it past 12:00 am (for which in English it would translate with the morning word - thus: at 3 o'clock in the morning). Funny somehow, if still dark outside and it is 5:00 am then we would choose to say morning - πρωί (Με ξύπνησαν στις 5 το πρωί). Concluding, I would suggest that βράδυ has to do with the proximity AND existence of darkness via daylight and is used certainly after 7 pm, although during summer time the sun would still be shinning up in the sky (proximity of night).

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